You’re trying to stick to a budget so that you can save but its hard work. Do you ever wonder why? We all do it (me included), we go shopping for things that we need but we end up leaving the shop with more than we bargained for. This is because we impulse buy, read below to find out what is an impulse buy and why do we do it. 


What is an impulse buy?

An impulse buy is purchasing goods without planning to do so. We generally do this because we get a thrill from purchasing items, it’s a little pick me up. No matter how frugal we are, it’s a weakness many of us succumb to. Now, you might be reading this thinking you aren’t susceptible to impulse buying, you may be correct. But let’s face it, you’re probably kidding yourself.


Here’s some different types of impulse buys:

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

We all have a fear of missing out on what everyone else has. Whether it’s the latest gadgets or the many discounts for your favourite products.

Latest gadgets - you don’t want to miss out, who does? All your friends have the latest phone and Nike trainers and you want them too. You can’t really afford to have them to and you don’t really need them but you’re out shopping, you’ve spotted them in the aisle and now you can’t resist.

Discounts – you’ve spotted a fantastic discount and you can’t afford to say no. But that’s it; you’ve been sucked in, you’re now searching every aisle to see if there’s any other discounts you can take advantage off because you simply can’t miss out.


You’re trying to save money

In a weird kind of way, those impulse buys are actually saving you money (in your head). You see a fantastic deal and the first thing you think is it’ll save you in the long run. But then you get home and you’ve already got 12 bottles of fairy liquid lined up at home, it’ll take a year to get through all those. There’s also that dress you thought was a great bargain in case you got invited on a night out, but it turns out when it came round to it, it wasn’t quite right.


You want to feel good

That cheeky impulse buy improves your mood, for a short time anyway. New lipstick here, a new nail varnish there, what’s the harm?  Food is a big must for me, food solves all my problems. It turns out I’m not alone, its number one on the impulse buy list. Food is the ultimate comfort for making all problems better but we need to remember that not only does this lead to an empty purse but we’ve resulted in the pounds on the waistline.


How much does it set us back?

Those pesky impulse buys soon catch up with us; it’s been found that over a lifetime we each spend £144,000, that’s roughly £200 a month. It’s all about the retail therapy, over a lifetime we spend £19,204.34 on technology, £10,029.10 on beauty and a whopping £9,544.28 just on treats and toys for our beloved pets. One in five of us look to buy a holiday whilst one in ten look to buy a car.

Without a doubt food is the biggest impulse buy. You’ve done your food shop but here comes the cravings for that a pizza, chocolate, crisps oh and you can’t forget a Chinese on a Friday night when you don’t fancy cooking. The list goes on and soon your food budget has soon doubled from the hidden extras.


Why is it a problem?

Impulse buys stop you from sticking to a budget and ultimately stop you saving. Set yourself some money goals and start tracking your spending habits with a budget spreadsheet. This will make you more aware of what you can and can’t be spending- sounds simple doesn’t it? The next bit is all down to you, you’re going to have to be super strong because it isn’t easy but when you’re next shopping ask yourself do you really need to buy it? If the answers no, put it down, walk away and forget.